This modern art piece is worth $120,000, and someone just ate it

Two photos of the same banana taped to a wall, but one of them is half eaten. The background is a vibrant yellow behind the images.
(Image credit: Future/Maurizio Cattelan)

Who remembers this iconic art piece? No, I don't mean the Mona Lisa. I'm talking about the banana taped to a wall that is worth $120,000. Well, the inevitable has happened. It's been eaten. Apparently, one hungry museum visitor had skipped breakfast and decided to indulge in a very pricey snack.

There are some truly bizarre modern art installations out there. From invisible statues to weird NFT exhibitions, the art world certainly isn't short of interpretive pieces designed to make us think 'what on earth is the point of this?'. I guess the same can be said for the taped-up banana. 

A shot of a person stood in front of a wall where the banana was taped up. One photo shows him eating the banana, the other shows the banana peel taped back up.

(Image credit: Future/KBS news)

So what exactly happened? A hungry guest visiting the museum decided to pull the banana down and peel it, eat half and then stick it back up on the wall. The guest, later revealed to be an art student, stated that he considered his actions of damaging the piece to be an artwork in itself. And I guess he has a point – he certainly created a new buzz around the piece, which was first displayed back in 2019.

The installation, located in the Leeum Museum of Art, was designed by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. It features a real banana stuck to a wall with a piece of duct tape, and is titled Comedian. According to Cattelan, the installation is meant to be a representation of how we value art today and the fleeting infatuation with NFTs. 

In hindsight, I guess the banana and its tendency to rot quickly is a great way to summarise the "fast-fashion" we see amongst NFTs and digital art pieces in the modern world. What makes this simple store-bought banana worth more than any other boring fruit piece? A certificate of authenticity, of course. I just wish he had been a bit more creative with how it was hung up – maybe a nail next time? Or some more colourful tape?

A shot of a banana taped to a wall with a person taking a photo on a phone in the foreground.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The good news is that the banana is replaced by staff every few days anyway. Luckily for the art student, this means that the museum has decided not to press any charges. They may not be so forgiving in the future if any other hungry onlookers decide to have a munch on the forbidden fruit.

Shockingly, this isn't the first banana drama we've seen surrounding this installation. Last year, we reported on a lawsuit that had been raised where another artist claimed that Cattelan had ripped off his own taped fruit artwork. Cattelan claims he had never seen the artwork titled "Banana & Orange". Who knew fruit and duct tape could be so exciting.

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Abi Le Guilcher
Ecommerce Writer

Abi Le Guilcher is Creative Bloq’s Ecommerce Writer. With a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Design for Game and Film, Abi enjoys almost anything creative and will either be found crafting or gaming in her spare time. Her previous experience as a retail assistant at CeX means she has a wide range of knowledge in both technology and media and loves to keep up to date with the latest tech. Abi is an avid cosplayer and has most recently worked with PlayStation and Santa Monica Studio on a promotional campaign for the release of God of War Ragnarök.